Three Oaks, Michigan, United States
Not surprisingly, the 50-millionth Toyota product sold in the US was a Camry, but Toyota had a big surprise in store for Michael Dee, the buyer of said milestone vehicle. Toyota group vice president Bill Fay showed up at Dee's house to not only personally thank him for the purchase, but also completely paid off that brand new Camry, presenting the owner with a clear title.
But that wasn't all. As you can tell from the image above, Fay had one more trick up his sleeve. The group VP brought along a brand new 2013 Toyota RAV4, which was also presented to Dee in appreciation. The best part is that Dee's genuine amazement was all caught on video, which is posted below.
A Toyota executive has said that the automaker's hybrid Prius model may not reach its 2013 goal of selling 250,000 units in the US marketplace. Bill Fay, group vice president for Toyota's US sales, told Reuters, "The 240,000 to 250,000 range is kind of where we're settling our sights for the Prius family."
The first-generation Prius, a five-passenger model, was introduced to the States in 2001 (its arrival made it the second mass-produced hybrid, after the two-seat Honda Insight). The second-generation model arrived in 2004, followed by the current third-generation design that arrived for the 2010 model year. The automaker has subsequently added the Prius V, a hatchback wagon (shown above) and the Prius C, a subcompact hatchback. As of March, 2013, cumulative worldwide sales of the Prius had reached 3.67 million units.
Last year, Toyota sold 236,659 Prius models in the US. However, sales of the model have fallen 5.1 percent in the first six months of 2013. In response, the automaker has boosted its marketing for the model, and the promotions are expected to continue through at least July.
2012 was a good year for the Toyota Prius line, the hybrid that started it all moving 236,659 units, being the best-selling model in California for the year and the Prius C (pictured) being deemed the most reliable car of 2012 by Consumer Reports. Then 2013 happened, and gas prices dropped more than expected, and people haven't been buying the little hybrids like they used to.
A report in Bloomberg says Toyota set 250,000 units as the Prius family's sales target for this year, but hits like the double-digit drop in year-on-year performance in February have helped lower 2013 sales by 8.4 percent compared to 2012, making the objective "a challenge" to reach. The declines in Prius sales come even as hybrid sales overall were up in the first couple of months this year, including sales of other Toyota and Lexus hybrids. Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American chief, said the Prius target would be adjusted if necessary.